February 6, 2011
Blessings in the citta-santana
This is brilliant, hearing the Mantrayana from a chantmaster...graceful, sublime.
B9 hummingbird hovering
NB: even though there are pronunciation errors and that the chanter may not be initiated into the tradition it matters not. The Dharma is stainless and this is a beautiful gift to the flourishing free culture upon the Internet.
August 18, 2010
Sublime text "chanted" by Anton Webern
Cutting through the bizarre verbal obfuscation of the self-introduction for the recording on the details page, this is basically the majority of the text of the Wisdom Publications book "The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism" translated by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein from Dudjom Rinpoche's 2 inspired texts, Fundamentals of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, and History of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. While many Tibetan Buddhist texts are written using regular phrase lengths to be chanted, the translation here certainly made no attempt to go beyond simple scholarly English prose, focusing on revealing the meaning as accurately as possible. 5 stars for the material. (Ignoring the potential copyright issue here)
Regarding presentation, I would give high marks for diligence to the person who the majority of the text (minus the scholarly apparatus etc.). However, the attempted "chanting" of the text could perhaps be considered questionable. As mentioned, the translation used was never intended to serve as a vehicle for rhythmic chanting, and the literary style is far from what could be called poetic. The actual chanting performance is rather whimsical, seemingly a succession of random pitches over a wide vocal range, suggesting Schoenbergian Sprechstimme but somehow less musical.
Another issue was the performer's utter lack of knowledge of Tibetan pronunciation. Admittedly, Tibetan pronunciation is a complex and knotty topic, especially given all the regional variations. However, there is a Guide to Pronunciation on p. xxxvii of the book, which clearly has not been consulted, otherwise the performer would certainly not have read "Mipham" as *Mifam*, to cite just one example (rule 3 states "Ph is never pronounced like English f..." etc).
It seems a pity that the book was not simply read straightforwardly, as it could have served as a nice audio book version of the text.